G-Poppers … March 4th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop got a message. His son was worried about the present political climate in our country.

G-Pop shares some of his concerns.

Yet, the whole situation reminds G-Pop of a teacher he had in high school–Coach Dunne.

The coach was young, charismatic, energetic and loved by all the students. So obviously, he had a great influence on the attitudes on campus.

Coach Dunne was also the guidance counselor–and all of the 118 people in G-Pop’s class made their way into Coach Dunne’s office to discuss with him their dreams and aspirations–even G-Pop.

He remembers it like it was yesterday. For you see, Coach Dunne had an approach:

He sized you up, and then he almost prophetically shared where he thought you should go with your talents, appearance, abilities and inclinations.

He had three favorite phrases:

1. You seem to be…

2. You look like…

3. You would be happy doing…

His words were cushioned with mostly praise, but also tarted with exhortation. He was convinced he knew your destiny.

So to G-Pop he said, “You seem to be a nice young man who’s interested in God. You look like you might want to pursue music, but I’m just not so sure you have the right stuff to make it.”

And then Coach Dunne concluded by saying, “You would be happy doing the work of a minister.”

G-Pop didn’t want to be a minister.

So he told Coach Dunne that he planned on pursuing music and creative arts. The guidance counselor shook his head, expressing great doubt.

Dunne thought he was doing a good thing by guiding students with his wisdom. G-Pop called it “Dunning.” It’s the belief that we can judge what’s right for other people based on their appearance, IQ and general demeanor.

This is directly reflected in the atmosphere of our political parties:

The Republicans contend it is their mission to bring all cultures and all ideologies under submission to the Constitution and Judeo-Christian principles.

The Democrats, on the other hand, believe that the poor, the indigent and the disenfranchised are being subjected by billionaires and a cruel society into an existence of poverty and degradation.

Both of these organizations are obsessed with the idea that human beings can be evaluated by the “Dunning” process. Both parties want to keep people in their culture, in their families, and bound to existing limitations.

It is utter foolishness.

And until we have leadership that tells the truth and does not try to force a reality on the populace based upon race, creed, gender or orientation, we will have a society that is splintered, separating the citizens by culture.

This should have been the message of Coach Dunne:

A. Be human.

In other words, find reasons to have commonality with everyone around you.

B. Do something of your own choice.

In other words, take a risk that what you think you can accomplish can actually be achieved.

C. Live with it.

Don’t get defensive if you fail. Don’t get prideful if you succeed.

Because the truth is, not one of us can live off our ancestors–and we sure as hell can’t control our children.

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Ask Jonathots … November 5th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I have a close friend who has decided to have a baby. She’ll raise the child herself–a single mom. I don’t disapprove, but I do wonder if the child will be somewhat disadvantaged. What do you think? Is there an innate power in the nuclear family–mom, dad and children?

No. There is no natural power in having a nuclear family in raising a child.

Children respond to two stimuli: love and discipline–hopefully dished out in equal portions.

Is there a positive aspect to a child having a male and female role model within the same household? No, but the mother, in your case, needs to be fully aware that since we are a world of men and women, that the child will need to have positive, joyous and untainted visions of the male of the species.

There would be a temptation, as a single mother, to pass along some bitterness, which would not only be useless to the child, but also could create an offspring that is overly sensitive to one gender in favor of the other.

Here’s the truth: we create too much drama around raising children.

People have been doing it for millions of years. Good people have raised bad children and excellent human beings have risen from the ashes of abusive situations. None of us are quite sure what makes the perfect climate for a young human to grow–except we do know that love and discipline go hand in hand to forming a better possibility.

You and I and the next guy standing near us need to realize that we carry prejudices into our relationships, even though we don’t intend to. It could be anything from a distaste over what is referred to as an “unwed mother,” or even a sense that we privately consider ourselves to be “Superparent,” and no one could raise children quite as well as we do.

This is where we can perform the function of encouragement and exhortation.

I will tell you–critique is absolutely worthless. Telling people what they are doing wrong is like spurring them on to do it more. But when you see your single mom friend performing brilliantly, step in and pat her on the back. Buy her a package of disposable diapers. And when you see her questioning what she’s doing, exhort her to pursue her better choices.

The human race will not improve because we are constantly correcting mistakes. Because we are emotional creatures, the human race only improves as we focus on what we are doing which is positive … and only gradually discards the useless ways.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 34 (March 19th, 1967) Water Buffalo … October 4, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

Jack Forrest was my friend.

He was one of those adolescent chums who I was sure would always be my next-door neighbor, as we borrowed lawn and garden tools from each other and swapped spares in the neighborhood bowling league.

We played football together until I quit early in the season–and sure enough, he also abandoned the sport in reverence and defiance. So I think he was a little confused when I returned to play basketball.

It was not an easy choice for me, either. I never wore shorts and because I was so large, the little tank-top jersey they provided was too tight and made my promising pecs appear to be burgeoning breasts.

But by the same token I was athletic. I was good enough to be a starter. So one afternoon, the Olentangy freshman basketball team came over to play us and Jack attended the game.

I was hoping to do well in this particular competition because I had secured the starting forward position, and I wanted to impress the coach. When I walked onto the court in all of my chubby glory, a young student from the Olentangy campus yelled out, “Hey, look! A water buffalo!”

There were some titters from the opposing faithful.

Even though I shouldn’t have, I looked around to see who was taunting me. There was this guy with a smirk on his face sitting right behind my buddy, Jack.

The coach whispered in my ear an exhortation to put it out of my mind and the game began.

But I didn’t put it out of my mind–especially when this fellow continued to call me a water buffalo and once even generated a “M-o-o-o-o!” in my direction. Honestly, the thing that crossed my mind was that I didn’t think the buffalo species “mooed.”

But being a kid, the insults affected me. I dribbled a ball off my foot, missed an easy lay-up and fouled the opposing team a couple of times in frustration. I found myself peering over at that screamer instead of paying attention to the game.

Jack just sat there quietly in front of him without moving a muscle.

All at once, when the fellow yelled out his most recent insult, Jack stood up, turned around and punched the kid in the nose. He didn’t knock him out, but the guy did bleed. Jack didn’t care. He just turned around, sat back down and watched the game.

It was amazing.

  • No one stopped the action.
  • No teacher jumped in and sent Jack off in hand-cuffs with the police.
  • And the fellow who had done all the yelling stopped his taunts, never filing a lawsuit.
  • Matter of fact, no one ever even talked to Jack about what he did, assuming it was a rite of passage between two young, emerging studs.

I finished the game free of interference and actually scored a couple of baskets.

After it was over, I thanked Jack for his assistance, but said it wasn’t necessary.

Jack replied, “I didn’t do it for you. His squawking made my ears hurt.”

I smiled–because I knew he did do it for me.

He was loyal. And even though loyalty can be misguided, it’s a pretty powerful thing to carry around … on your way to acquiring good sense.

 

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Money Brick Part II … January 18, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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hand money

I have had folks pat me on the back. Very nice.

Brothers and sisters have lifted me up in prayer. Divinely encouraging.

I have received a letter of exhortation from a stranger. Brought tears to my eyes.

I’ve gotten awards. Very rewarding.

I’ve had a hug and a kiss. No complaints.

I’ve received many standing ovations from audiences all across this country. Exhilarating.

But I can tell you that nothing is a greater pat on the back, prayer, letter, award, hug, kiss and applause than when somebody simply slips some money in my hand.

I don’t mean to sound materialistic. It’s just knowing that people are separating themselves from their own sustenance to give to me, with no strings attached, honoring me to do something beautiful with it.

I don’t know–maybe I’m just a little giddy over the first fruits of a new idea. For as I took my money brick this week, small as it is, and began to distribute off little morsels to the birds God sent my way, I felt empowered with a joy unspeakable and full of glory.

I didn’t give money to homeless folk. I have nothing against those without an address. But this week I sought out individuals who are keeping the faith, trying to maintain a great attitude, but finding themselves a dollar short of a smile.

  • A lady I met who’s trying to survive on her social security, which seems to be shrinking even as she holds it in her hands.
  • A young man who pursues what some people would consider a demeaning job, but rather than seeking other ways to procure his grits and gravy, he chooses to take on the task.
  • A young mother who is struggling with her three pre-school children, maintaining the sweetest attitude this side of heaven, who just needed a reason to stop and pick up something for herself.

Time and time again folks were brought in front of me who just needed encouragement.

I don’t know about you–sometimes I get tired of talking about the problems in the world, or honestly, just insisting that I’m going to share my thoughts and prayers. I am a firm believer in prayer, but I don’t think it’s any substitute for taking what’s in our hands and releasing it to others.

I encourage you to get your own money brick. At first you might feel a bit of embarrassment over how tiny it is, but five dollars divided into quarters is really quite impressive.

Somehow or another we have to express to one another the depth of our commitment, the desire to be connected and the willingness to endure.

Often a pat on the back is not enough.

But a dollar, given at just the right moment, is a statement that not only “in God we trust,” but that we also trust … one another.

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